Photographed By Gail in the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum
In the mid-to-late 20th century, an atmosphere of innovation and a desire to question the tenets of modernism led some designers to explore a variety of ways in which to shape space. American Architect and Designer Alexander Hayden Girard utilized color and pattern in textiles, particularly in this colorful abstract, or folk art-inspired work for Herman Miller.
Photographed at Albertz Benda Gallery
By 1970, Japanese Architect and Interior Designer Shiro Kuramata (1934 – 1991) was introducing alternative materials such as acrylic and industrial plate glass into his furniture. Utilizing a newly developed adhesive, Kuramata achieved material and visual minimalism with this Glass Armchair (1976). Flat planes of glass are bonded together along their edges, without mounts or screws, to create a functional chair that seems simultaneously visible and invisible. The transparent form invites users to question notions of materiality, utility and comfort.
Utility meets design is this Stylaire Kitchen Stepladder (circa 1950) designed and manufactured by Cosco Home and Office Products. I photographed this piece in the visible storage rooms at the Brooklyn Museum because t reminded me of one just like this that we had in our house when I was growing up (60s – 70s). Nostalgia! Part chair, part step stool, this design was inspired midcentury by the traditional library step-chair, and is still manufactured by Cosco today.
Dubbed the Prince of Plastic by the New York Times, Neal Small (b. 1937) lead a craze in the late 1960s for sculptural lighting and furniture made from plastic and acrylic. “I like to think of it as all part of the new permissiveness,” he commented. ‘I Know that I am being more permissive with myself and the designs I allow myself to make — making fuller, more sensuous things. People are permitting themselves in every area, whether it’s music, with the Beatles and the Stones, architecture or clothes. They are allowing themselves things that please them personally. You don’t have to invest in things forever anymore. Lighting is getting to be an art form”
Area Lamp (model 1112), 1966 -67 was Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.
The Swiss-born designer Matia Bonetti is known for his irreverent, eye-grabbing, and (often) dazzlingly shiny functional objects. Bonetti enjoys playing with both organic and geometric forms rather than adhering to a consistent style. Created from Gold-plated bronze, cast aluminum, and rock crystal, the Liquid Gold Cabinetcombines the two aesthetics, the designer offers, “because it’s quite straight in line, but you have all these ripplings that are more informal. They could be called Baroque, with their guiding and the richness.”
Photographed in the Paul Kasmin Gallery, NYC as part of the Indoor Outdoor Exhibit in 2013.
Liquid Gold Cabinet Shown Here with the Arctic Raft Side Table to the Left
Swiss designer Mattia Bonetti scores again with Lucky (2013), a stainless steel Di (get a second to make proper pair of dice) which measures 18.62″ H x 18.6″ W x 18.62″ D and can be used as a stool or side table. Available in an edition of 100.
Isn’t this piece fabulous? Swiss designer Mattia Bonetti created his Archetype Lamp (2013) to mimic a Head and Shoulders silhouette, and what a head turner it is. Fabricated in bronze and Murano glass in a limited edition of 8, plus 2 artist proofs.
Photographed in the Paul Kasmin Gallery in NYC.
Archetype Lamp Shown Here atop the Scuba Console Table, with the Poppy Side Chair
Finnish desirer Tuomas Markunpoika explores memory and metaphysics in the design of all his objects. In honor of his grandmother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, Markunpoika created Engineering Temporality(2012) by welding hand-cut rings of tubular steel over a traditional wooden cabinet. He then burned away the cabinet, leaving behind a shell of blackened metal rings; a ghost or shadow or the original form.